Moving In, Moving Out, And Moving On

January 8, 2019

by Chris Campion

Vermont Business Magazine recently published an article titled “Vermont tops moving-in list for second year“, based on an annual United Van Lines movers’ study.  While the title is interesting, the article itself is misleading, as it’s based on a percentage of all moves (inbound and outbound), not a raw number.

Vermont topped the list of Top Moving Destinations of 2018 according to the 2018 National Movers Study by United Van Lines, the nation’s largest household goods mover. In 2018, more residents moved into Vermont than out of the state, with 72.6 percent of moves being inbound. This marks the second straight year that Vermont is the top inbound moving destination in the US.

Vermont is only the top inbound moving destination, by percentage of total moves, not the total count of moves.

The study also found that the state with the highest percentage of inbound migration was Vermont (72.6 percent), with 234 total moves. Oregon, which had 3,346 total moves, experienced the second highest percentage nationally, with 63.8 percent inbound moves.

So Oregon places 2nd to Vermont, even though it had over 14 times the volume of in-bounds, compared to Vermont. In other words, no, people are not flocking to Vermont. Oregon, maybe, but not Vermont.

The reasons why people move into and out of Vermont are extremely telling.  For people moving into Vermont, 34% are moving in for a job.  But 86% of people moving out of Vermont are moving out for a job.

In other words, there’s a 3-1 ratio of people moving out of Vermont vs. moving in, for employment reasons.  The only thing making up the difference, in terms of net in-bounds, is people moving to Vermont for retirement, almost 1/3 of all in-bounds.  As the article goes on to state:

The study reveals that those moving into Vermont are older and wealthier and most often move here as a retirement destination. Those moving out are younger and tend to do so for a job elsewhere.

Young Vermonters leave Vermont because it’s such a challenge to find well-compensated employment, and the cost of living is so high.  In-bound retirees tend to have the highest incomes and the ability to afford homes in Vermont, and the attendant property taxes.  One third of in-bounds is 65 or over.  Almost two-thirds of in-bounds are age 55 or older.

Vermont is 47th of 50 states in terms of population growth, based on census data and 2018 estimates.  That’s a net change of roughly 500 people, out of 625,000, a couple hundred of that numbers due to in-bound movers.  Vermont’s population growth is the lowest in the country, as of 2005 data, of 10.1 births per 1,000 people – Utah is twice that rate.

Vermont’s problems with its demographics are so bad, that the state is actually paying people to move to Vermont, as if a small financial incentive will overturn decades of work establishing Vermont as one of the worst business climates in the country.  Even though South Burlington made USA Today’s list of best cities to live in, by state, if you look at the income to home value ratio, it’s perfectly clear why fewer young people are staying or moving to Vermont (data from the article):

Selling Vermont as a great place to live is easy, if you don’t have to contend with messy details like being able to afford to live there.  When Vermont’s politicians are busy celebrating their fine work in legalizing marijuana (which is a layup in terms of effort) instead of addressing the critical core failings of Vermont’s “leadership” for the past 40 years, the outlook for those remaining is darker than ever, and a long slow ride into oblivion awaits.

Chris Campion writes the Danger Waffles blog. This piece posted with permission.

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

SHAZZAM January 8, 2019 at 3:57 pm

So …. the one party system of government is orchestrating laws geared toward those of privilege (white demographic?) who care not of the cost (tax rate) to maintain a choice (see verdant meadows or short front properties) non-gated community setting (see electronic security systems with backup power generators). Those who can maintain a primary residence in Florida are finding places like Cashiers North Carolina to be overcrowded and over priced and those coming from Valley Stream Long Island who live five feet from each other can bail out with 3/4 of a million + bounce to VT.


Barb January 8, 2019 at 4:04 pm

You’re right . What wasn’t factored in is politics. This tends to be a Democratic haven and yet all the problems they create they are running from, especially those with financial security. I worry about our future. Some of us are too house poor to make that move or to stay and enjoy life here. Seniors have it so hard due to anything that has disrupted their life such as Illness, death of a spouse, divorce and loss of a job. Cost of living expenses are skyrocketing while SS is not keeping up to help seniors cope. Every time they get a raise it’s eaten up by Medicare raises ( As in the current raise situation).
The future will consist of more homelessness, not enough senior housing we can afford, and poor health due to the high cost of vehicles, gas and food. If you read Red Famine, this is how the Soviets controlled Poland and the Ukraine … Socialism. Vermont beware of representatives that can’t see the future or beyond their paychecks and State bennifits.


Donna January 13, 2019 at 8:49 pm

Use to be the only socialist in Vt was Sanders, he mooched off his friends for years before becoming mayor..Now there’s a bunch of liberal socialists living here in Vt sucking off of working Vermonters..


H. Brooke Paige January 9, 2019 at 4:33 am

When I first saw the story, I joked that the reason United Van Lines and U-Haul showed more folks moving in than moving out was when folks come to Vermont they have lots of stuff to bring with them, however by the time they leave – they only have the clothes on their backs !

After I thought about it for a while, I realized it was the truth and it wasn’t funny !


Deanne January 12, 2019 at 2:36 am

You can make the numbers “prove” whatever you want.

This summer I worked for two couples here in N. H. who couldn’t afford to keep paying Vermont taxes, so jumped the river to N. H. and our taxes are nothing to sneeze at…


ROBERT NEW January 12, 2019 at 4:36 am

Northerners are relocating to the South. Vermont has been losing younger people since the discovery of tillable fields to our west (“Go West, young man!”). There has always been the lure of the cities (now the megapolis) a short drive from our very rural state. Indeed, much of rural America is migrating to more populated centers as opportunities are disappearing and towns and villages across America are depopulating. Sad.

Rural areas (and cities like Vermont’s except for greater Burlington) don’t have adequate support for families. Who wants to barely survive?

Add to that the replacement of humans by robots and the move of corporations to foreign nations, until there are incentives for people to return to rural America aside from the natural beauty, younger people will be inclined to “follow the money.”


Trad January 14, 2019 at 2:01 pm

A good share of the people I have met in southern VT and NH, who moved here after retiring, did so because their children and grandchildren lived here. But, a lot of them have winter homes in FL and spend six months (to the day) there.


William Hays January 15, 2019 at 1:21 am

I moved from Vermont (Stowe) in 1985 to Jacksonville Beach, FL to be near my aging mother. Bought a little condo, on the beach, and loved it. No state income tax was a bonus. Stayed in Jax Bch for nine years, then the influx of Yuppies drove me out.
I moved to Montana (no sales tax) and live quite comfortably on my military pension and Social Security. Neat place, my city of 3,300!
I’d love to move back to Vermont, but not until the Progressives and Socialists are exterminated.


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